Three Up, Three Down: Callender's heroics, Messi's two assists lead Inter Miami to crucial 3-1 win at LAFC

Inter Miami had one of its best all-around performances Sunday in one of its most important wins, 3-1 at defending champion LAFC, to gain three important points and keep alive its slender playoff hopes. After each match, Inter Heron shares its thoughts on the Herons' three most impactful and three least or most negatively impactful players in pink. And, no, if you're wondering, Prince Harry nor Selena Gomez nor Jason Sudeikis made the cut.
Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender defends the Herons' net in a 3-1 win Sunday at LAFC.
Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender defends the Herons' net in a 3-1 win Sunday at LAFC. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Jordi Alba, B+

[KEN] The left wingback is always sound and looked more energetic tonight than he has in recent matches. His instincts and composure on the ball were rewarded with his first MLS regular season goal, a lovely collaboration with his Barcelona alumni brothers Sergio Busquets, who turned with the ball and found Messi camped in the middle of the field near the start of the Herons' attacking third. The Argentine maestro took a couple of patient dribbles into the third, looking off the LAFC defense, while Alba sprinted nearly the length of the field. Messi hit him perfectly in stride and Alba was immediately in on former Inter Miami goalkeeper John McCarthy. Instead of rushing the 1-v-1 attempt, as Black & Gold MVP candidate had a couple of times already, Alba calmly stroked the ball into the LAFC goal to give Miami a 2-0 lead. Alba seems a perfect example of the Barcelona trio's greatest qualities -- instinct, experience and poise. They still have pretty good physical skills, but its the example they set for their teammates that make them so special in my mind.